Commonly Recommended Software, Links, And Tips

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***This list is rather outdated. We are working on compiling a new list*** Please see here:

Commonly Recommended Software, Links, and Tips

Last Updated April 3, 2007. If you find an error or a dead link, or would just like to add items to this list, please contact a Windows Expert, Moderator, or Admin.

Startup Utilities

Never use MSConfig to disable startup programs no matter what others have recommended. MSConfig is for troubleshooting purposes only. If you use it to disable startups and then run the program, you may cause what is known as a memory leak which does all sorts of strange things to your system. And disabling programs and services with it can get you into trouble that only a repair install can get you out of. Please note the warning found on the Microsoft site concerning MSConfig.. Instead, use one of the following startup managers.

00.. Codestuff Starter is a highly configurable startup manager.

01.. Pacs-Portal Startup tells you about most of the programs you have running at startup.

02.. Greatis Startup. uses a database of allowed and disallowed startup programs and processes. It now can help fight against trojans and viruses.

03.. Mike Lin's Startup Control Panel is an easy way of controlling the startup programs.

04.. StartUpLite is a lightweight program that can disable or remove all known unnecessary startup entries from your computer and thus quicken the startup procedure of your system.

Hardware and Software Utilities

Need to find out something about your computers hardware or software?

10.. Everest Reports on Hardware and gives links for updates. It is the replacement for Aida32 V. 3.93

11.. Belarc Advisor Reports on Software and processes.

12.. MS Windows Memory Diagnostic Tests your physical memory

13.. checks many things from disk fragmentation to Internet speed tests and gives recommendations.

14.. Driver Detective will check your drivers and report what updates are available. This program is not free, so we generally recommend people to simply write down their results and then manually get the updated drivers.

15.. SiSoft Sandra A very powerful system audit tool and benchmark testing program. The free version has many benchmark test modules for normal users while the Pro version is more for developers and is not free.

16.. Ethereal is a troubleshooting and reporting utility for networks.

Internet Security

Keeping your computer secure is your first line of defence against hackers, viruses, trojans, hijackers, spammers, and adware. These programs and sites will help you make the job a little bit easier. They will also educate you about the threat and your computer, and is one of the most important parts of computer maintenance you can do.

20.. Windows Update is the most important security measure you can do.

21.. Windows XP Service Pack 1a Now you can download and save SP1 on your computer or burn it to disk instead of having to download it every time you reinstall Windows XP.

22.. 826939 Update Roll-up 1 for Windows XP. Microsoft has released Update Roll up 1 for Microsoft Windows XP. An update roll-up is a cumulative set of hot-fixes, security patches, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment. Update Roll up 1 for Windows XP is a single package that includes many previously released critical updates for Windows XP.

23.. Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 6 SP1. This download wraps up multiple security patches from Microsoft into a single download. There are other security patches available as well. See Microsoft's Protect Your PC page for more details.

24.. Windows 98 Critical and Beneficial Updates. Get them while Microsoft still supports Windows 98. Save them to your computer and burn them to CD.

25.. Shoot the Messenger Disables windows messenger service for you.

26.. Kellys-Korner has a fix if you use shoot the messenger and Outlook Express or Hot-mail slows down.

27.. DCOMbobulator Disables DCOM (a security hole) tests for internet security leaks.

29.. Sygate Security Scan tests for open ports on your computer.

2A.. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyser

2B.. Unplug and Pray Disables the Rarely used UPnP service for you.

2C.. DirectX Buster fully uninstalls DirectX from your computer.

2D..Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer sp1. Now you can download all the updates and save them to your drive or burn them to CD.

2E.. Sun Java. More secure than MS version of java and still supported.

2F.. Hacker eliminator can prevent worms and hijacking and gives recommendations on your Internet browser settings.

2G.. Setting Up Security Zones] in Internet Explorer shows you how to set up security zones to protect your computer.

2H.. Start Page Guard prevents your home page from being hijacked. If it gives you an alert, you should also scan for hijackers and viruses.

2I.. Random Password Generator allows you to generate single or large numbers of secure, random passwords

2J.. KeyScrambler gives you great anti-keylogging protection

Free Personal Firewalls

Never have 2 or more software firewalls running on the same computer. They often conflict with each other and cause problems

30.. Comodo Personal Firewall

31.. Tiny Personal Firewall

32.. ZoneAlarm

33.. Outpost firewall

34.. Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall

Free Web Browsers

It's generally recommended that you have more than one browser available to you even if you use one exclusively. That way, you can check to see if a problem is unique to your browser or a more generalised problem.

40.. Mozilla

41.. Firefox Extentions

42.. Opera

43.. Flashpeak SlimBrowser

44.. Avantbrowser

45.. Maxthon Tabbed Browser

46..Maxthon Plugins

47..Official Maxthon FAQ

48..Maxthon Skins

Web based Virus and Trojan Scanners

49.. Panda ActiveScan

49.. Kaspersky Online AV

50.. Free On-line Trojan Scan

51.. CWShredder removes the CoolWebSearch Hijacker and it's variations. Do not run this unless you are certain you have a CoolWeb Hijacker. Here's a tip.

52.. Symantec Security Check

53.. BitDefender Free On-line Virus Scan

54.. color=red]Removed - no longer available.

55.. House Call Virus Scanner

56.. McAfee Online Scanner. The scanner is towards the bottom of the page.


58.. WinPatrol

Local computer Virus and Trojan Scanners

These free anti virus programs give you extra protection against viruses and are updated regularly.  We recommend you have only one AV program running at any given time but sometimes it's good to have several installed and ready for use when you feel the need.  Remember, though, that sometimes one AV program will detect the virus definition database of another AV program as a virus.  If you encounter this, it's likely a false alarm.

60.. Avast, Home Editon

61.. AVG AntiVirus

62.. And if you're having trouble getting updates for AVG AntiVirus, here's the fix.

63.. Mike Lins Startup Monitor alerts you if any programs like trojans, viruses, or hijackers register to run at startup.

Links to common virus removal instructions

70.. Symantec w32 blaster worm information

71.. Symantec w32 blaster worm removal tool

72.. Symantec qhosts worm information

73.. Symantec qhosts worm removal tool

74.. McAfee Qhosts-1 information and removal instructions

75.. Removed, information no longer available.

Adware, Spyware, and Hijacker Scanners

If your anti virus program finds nothing and you are experiencing virus like symptoms or unwanted advertisements, these programs may help.

80.. Spybot Search and Destroy removes advertising and spyware from your computer.

81.. AdAware removes advertising and spyware from your computer.

82.. Hijack This is a highly useful program for finding computer hijacking. Excellent instructions are found here .

83.. A2 free scans your computer for trojans, worms, spyware, dialers, etc..

84.. Winpatrol also alerts you to programs that are installed on your computer without your knowlege.

85.. Spyware Blaster prevents some spyware from being installed in the first place.

86.. KazaaBeGone removes Kazaa and all of its spyware components.

87.. IE Spyad places advertisement sites in the restricted zone and disables many of the tools they use to hijack your computer.

88.. Mike Lin's Startup Monitor monitors what runs on startup and alerts you to new additions.

PopUp Stoppers

90.. EMS Freesurfer

91.. Google Toolbar

92.. Test your PopUp Stopper

Web Sites with Useful information

Some of t hese web sites have information that can help people diagnose many common problems on their computers. Others have information that people commonly ask about.

A0.. lists information about software parasites.

A1.. lists information about spyware.

A2.. also lists information about spyware

A3.. lists common tasks that are running on your machine.

A4.. gives information about Windows Services.

A5.. BIOS Power On Self Test (POST) Beep Codes

A6.. Fdisk Radified gives information on how to use the Fdisk utility.

A7.. has a lot of information and tip on many subjects.

A8.. Password Recovery for Windows XP, 2000, NT. Make sure you read the FAQ Before you do anything

A9.. is a web site with the latest news about Virus Hoaxes and Myths.

AA.. is an Email hoax site. Learn why you should not believe everything you read.

AB.. Internet Explorer errors are easily resolved with the help of one of Henri Leboeuf's Web pages.

AC.. Windows Fatal Eception errors are also more easy to troubleshoot with the help of Henri Leboeuf's Web site.

Microsoft Knowledge Base Articles

These articles by Microsoft resolve issues that we often see on this board.

B0.. 319585 Windows "Software Update incomplete, This Software Update Did Not Update Successfully" Error Message When You Visit the Windows Update Site

B1.. 281679 You Cannot Open New Internet Explorer Window or Nothing Happens After You Click a Link

B2.. 306615 The Computer Always Starts in Safe Mode

B3.. 308421 How To Take Ownership of a File or Folder in Windows XP

B4.. 148919 Windows Restarts Continuously

B5.. 311806 Windows Restarts When You Try to Shut Down Your Computer

B6.. 314057 NTLDR Is Missing Error Message When You Upgrade or Install Windows XP Over Windows 95, Windows 98, Or Windows Millenium

B7.. 321305 How to Log On to Windows XP If You Forget Your Password or Your PassWord Expires

B8.. 302089 How to Prevent Windows Messenger From Running on a Windows XP Based Computer

Windows Installation Helpful How To Sites

These sites offer good information on how to install and repair Microsoft Windows.

C0.. XP Clean Install

C1.. How To Repair XP gives how to use the installation disk to repair Windows XP.

C2.. 221829 How to Install Windows 98 on a Computer With No Operating System

C3.. 255867 How to Use the Fdisk and Format Tools to Partition or Repartition a Hard Disk

Registry Cleaners, file shredders, and file recovery

Securely deleting files, recovering deleted files, and cleaning the registry are common issues many people have asked about.

D0.. Regseeker is a registry cleaner

D1.. Eraser is the most recommended file shredder

D2.. AnalogX Supershredder

D3.. Ultrawipe

D4.. AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser Lite is more of an internet privacy utility

D5.. MRUBlaster cleans up Most Recently Used entries for privacy on public computers

D6.. [email protected] hard drive eraser will wipe the entire hard drive completely

D7.. PC Inspector emaxx will wipe a hard drive well enough for the defence department.

D8.. PC Inspector File Recovery

D9.. Restoration - File Undelete Utility will recover files after they were removed from the recycle bin.

D10. ISO Buster will allow you to recover lost data or files from CD's or DVD's.

D11..Autoclave wipes the entire hard drive clean

D12..Disk Cleener cleans out the temp directory and the internet temporary files. Works with Opera and IE.

Video conversion and editing

These websites give excellent information about converting video and making DVDs, VCDs, and SVCDs.

E0.. has information on making DVDs, VCDs, and SVCDs.

E1.. DVDRhelp convert has information on converting files into DVD, VCD, and SVCD formats.

E2.. TmpGenc video conversion program.

E3.. Irfanview will display pictures and video in most formats.

Other, Uncategorized Links

F0.. find missing dll files here.

F1.. missingfiles has many of those files that your computer may be missing.

F3.. Winzip compresses and decompresses most file formats.

F4.. What is a Troll? answers the question "why is this guy insulting, and what can I do about it".

Tweak Sites

G0.. Kelly's Korner



G3.. PC Pitstop can test your computers performance.

G4.. XQDC Xsetup has lots of tweaks. Don't forget to get the extra plugins.

G5.. Jv16 utilities has many tweaks available for your system.

G6.. TweakUI also has many tweaks for Windows.

Spell Checkers

H0.. Internet Explorer Spell Checker

H1.. Outlook Express Spell Checker

H2.. Mozilla Firefox Spell Checker

H3.. Firefox9+ spellchecker

(Follow the installation directions carefully, there are three XPI files involved.

The choose options and install section on the page works best.

For those who like to download the XPIs, then install them the files needed are:



spell-en-US.xpi (or the language of your choice)

Hosting for images and files

I1.. Sharkle. Free Online Video Sharing Community

I2.. Photobucket Image Hosting - Photo Sharing - Online Photo Albums

I3.. Image Shack Photohosting

I4.. Tiny Pic

Game Developement


Some Free Photoshop alternatives.

K1.. Paint.NET - Photoshop alternative

K2.. GIMP - Windows installers

K3.. PhotoPlus 5.5 - Photo Editing Software Free, but requires registration at Serif Product Registration

K4.. removed, page has been removed from their server

Absolutely legit, not cracked, hacked - nada!

3D Graphics:

K5..3Delight Free -

K6..Anim8or -

K7..Aqsis -

K8..Blender -

K9..gmax -

K10..Houdini (Free Edition) -

K11..Maya Personal Learning Ed. -

K12..Now3D -

K13..OpenFX -


K14..Toxic -

K15..Wings 3D -

IRC Clients:

L1..BersIRC -

L2..HydraIRC -

L3..TinyIRC -

L4..XChat -


Audio Players:

M1..1by1 -

M2..Billy -

M3..CoolPlayer -


M5..Foobar 2000 -

M6..iTunes -

M7..Jet Audio Basic -

M8..Musik -

M9..QCD Player -

M10..Sonique -

M11..Winamp -

M12..XMPlay -

Audio Tools:

N1..Audacity -

N2..CDex -

N3..dBpowerAMP Music Converter -

N4..EAC -

N5..Encounter 2003 -

N6..GermaniXEncoder -

N7..K-MP3 -

N8..KraMixer -

N9..MP3 Book Helper -

N10..MP3 Tag -

N12..mp3DirectCut -

N13..MP3Gain -

N14..mp3Trim -

N14..MusicBrainz -

CD/DVD Burning:

O1..Burn4Free -

O2..Burnatonce -

O3..CDBurnerXP -


O5..CDR Tools Frontend -

O6..Deepburner -

O7..DVD Decrypter:

O8..Easy Burning, DropCD & Audio CD -

Compression / Decompression:

P1..7-zip -

P2..bzip2 -

P3..FilZip -

P4..IZArc -

P5..QuickZip -

P6..TUGZip -

P7..UltimateZIP -

P8..UPX -

P9..Zip&Go -

P10..Zipgenius -

P11.. WinZip -

Download managers:

Q1..Free Download Manager -

Q2..Fresh Download -

Q3..Star Downloader -

Q4..wackget -

Q5..wget -

Instant Messenger:

R1..Gaim -


R3..Miranda IM -

R4..Pandion -

R5..Trillian Basic -

Note: Not all of the software listed above has been tested nor confirmed to work. Use at your own risk. If you do find a problem, please contact a Windows Expert, Moderator, or Admin.

A special thanks to mlegg and JSKY who helped locate and compile this list.

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